Couple walking down street die when driver runs Back Bay red light, hits two cars, then them

Campbell

Updated, Sunday, 12 p.m.

Two Brookline residents walking down Beacon Street in the Back Bay died when a driver ran a red light at Fairfield Street around 9:15 p.m., got into a crash with two other vehicles, rolled over, then hit them, according to WCVB and Boston Police.

John Lanzillotti, 28, of Brookline, who worked for the Red Sox, was declared dead at the scene. Jessica Campbell, 27, his girlfriend, was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where she died.

Campbell, who described herself as a "retail analyst, social media geek, animal lover, yogi wannabe" on her Twitter feed, posted her last tweet about 45 minutes before the crash - a photo of yesterday's sunset over the Charles.

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Comments

Tragic

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but I can't help but think the rampant double parking combined with the European speed demons on that street may have been a factor.

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There is no rampant double

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There is no rampant double parking on that section of Beacon. Cars speeding and blowing through red lights and stop signs happens all the time on that stretch of Beacon however.

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I beg to differ

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People constantly double park on the left side of Beacon Street. And I've seen many, many near misses by that Audi blasting up Beacon weaving their way up that street at a high rate of speed until they whip around that delivery truck in the middle lane only to narrowly miss the car double parked on Beacon.

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Rampant double-parking is on

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Rampant double-parking is on Marlborough btwn Mass. Ave. and Hereford. Either way, some drivers treat Beacon as if it's the Mass. Pike. I've seen cars drag race up Beacon on weekend nights. Complete disregard for the safety of those around them.

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I too call baloney on the first anon

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Shame on him and the people who up-thumbed someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. Did y'all just want to pile on with the flippant anti-Euro bigotry?

I lived for years on Comm between Fairfield and Gloucester, and still spend a lot of time in that neighborhood. Double parked cars (usually not blinking) are incredibly common on both sides of the street all along Beacon (yes, and Marlborough and Comm and Newbury).

Double parked drivers are obviously not as primarily responsible for accidents as drivers who are weaving at unsafe speeds, but they are definitely part of the problem.

***

My condolences to the families and friends of the two people who lost their lives in this tragic accident.

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It Appears That Speed And Running The Red Light ...

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... caused this senseless tragedy. I agree that double-parking is a constant problem throughout Boston, including Beacon Street; it endangers bicyclists more than anyone. But in this case; at least so far; there's been no mention of any double-parked cars being involved or implicated.

I think the "thumbs" you're taking such offense to reflect people's dismay over speeding and running red lights; not their views on the prevalence of double-parking.

I would add, the shutdown of Storrow Drive at Mass Ave last night may have played a part; the speeding driver might have been using Beacon Street as a detour. Was Storrow Drive closed all day? The late-night news gave traffic advisories for people to avoid Beacon Street after the accident, but there was no mention of the Storrow closure.

I got stuck in it just after midnight. Right after the Arlington exit, it turned into three lanes of parking. It took 45 minutes to get to Mass Ave, where all cars were forced to exit. There was a vague message board about median work, but at that point it was too late to seek any alternate route to escape the jam! Some cars were making U-turns and going the wrong way to get out via the Berkeley Street entrance ramp. Undoubtedly, most of those reckless drivers would be heading straight down Beacon Street!

There were no police on hand to help with the traffic on Storrow Drive; perhaps they were all called over to the Beacon Street area. There wasn't even someone directing traffic at the top of the Mass Ave exit ramp where everyone was being funneled off. The exit is well marked as "right-turn-only" into Cambridge, but most of the traffic wanted to turn left, so the hundreds of cars trapped in the jam were only getting through a few at a time.
 
 
This story is heartbreaking, especially to see Jessica's pictures and to read her Twitter feed; she had a beautiful spirit of life!

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Double parking

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Double parking is, if not rampant, not unexpected on that stretch of the street. Unfortumately it gives rise to games of chickent by drivers looking to gain positional advantage over drivers in other lanes. Whether or not it was implicated in this tragedy is unknown at this point as far as I can tell.

Headline

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Driver runs Back Bay red light...

RIP

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speeding driver at fault

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I happened to be walking back from fishing for bass in the Charles (!) and came upon the accident. Clearly someone was speeding on Beacon tried to get through a red light as a driver on Fairfield was taking a left in a Honda Accord type vehicle. The speeding car hit the front right corner of the turning car and flipped over.

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Any explanation as to the

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Any explanation as to the report that two were deceased (citing Emily Rooney's tweet) that was subsequently removed?

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Racetrack

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This is just horrific and a comment on the Channel 5 site says one of the people hit may have been a child.

On weekend nights both Comm ave and Beacon street are like a racetrack, with many cars speeding excessively, tho that's usually after 11pm when people are racing to downtown clubs.

I'm always surprised there aren't more cops out just pulling cars over for speeding and then doing sobriety checks. And I'm really surprised that the city hasn't tried traffic calming measures, with raised intersections or crosswalks, on both streets.

In case people don't know what traffic calming is:

* https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traffic_calming

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can we focus in the tragedy

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And not someone's political agenda? Would you like speed bumps on Beacon Street? How about some personal responsibility for this?

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yes, actually.

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Yes, I would like to see speedbumps on parts of Beacon Street, preferably in the form of raised crosswalks and mid-block bumps. They're not ugly and they're just enough to make drivers slow down after the first time they crunch their undercarriage. I've lived in Back Bay since 1993 and stopped driving on Beacon because it's so unsafe. Drivers are too aggressive for the conditions. It's time something changed.

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How to focus?

Everyone [hopefully] feels for the people who were hurt and killed and agrees this is horrible. But I don't know what else can be said to "focus on the tragedy" apart from discussing how it happened and ways of preventing it in the future.

If you watch traffic signals around Boston you'll noticed that 1-4 cars run the light after it turns red at every cycle. At the major intersections it's even worse with people treating yellow lights as green lights and "fresh" red lights as yellow lights. It's part of the reason why I'm in favor of traffic video cameras -- it would produce more fender benders but would prevent a lot of more serious accidents.

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Whenever I'm over there

.. I get the sense that the stoplight system is broken and half assed and mainly there to keep cars moving in a choked quasi medieval thing.

Pedestrian timing is a breezy afterthought and Boston does not inspire confidence that it gives a shit about anything more than convincing people from away that it is significant.

It's Mumbles mess and the residents just live in it.

It behaves like some batty shopaholic crap hoarder that can't keep the friggin roof from leaking.

And it really really sucks when its torpor, sloth and sleaze lead to yet another ration of funerals.

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Agreed 100%

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Ill-timed lights along with totally inconsistent and mostly useless pedestrian signals mean that it's just a free-for-all out there.

"Timing the lights badly" is the worst traffic-calming device ever. Makes drivers crazy and encourages people to blow through yellow/just-turned-red lights, feeling that if they don't hit this one light, they're going to get stuck a dozen times later. Usually it's true.

Pedestrian signals that give you the walk light for 10 seconds every three minutes (and only if the button is pushed) and then count down to zero a good 20 seconds before the opposing traffic gets the green leads is outrageous. Pedestrians simply ignore the lights and walk out into traffic.

This is not some hard-to-figure out issue. Go to New York, D.C, Chicago, even L.A. They've all figured this out.

And start enforcing double parking, speeding, and failing to yield to pedestrians, all of which I see all the time.

On Beacon Street, maybe it's time to remove some resident spots and put in loading zones every block for cabs and delivery trucks.

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Even the crossing at Cheers is terrifying.

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I used to walk there frequently with my daughter and even in the stroller days I was always amazed at the speeding cars and the blatant violators of the pedestrian crosswalk and the red lights. It's a busy pedestrian area, full of ambling tourists and kids and still drivers would treat it like a raceway. I am so sorry to hear about these young people--lot of lives devastated last night, no doubt.

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What if the SUV didn't roll over?

Just recently I complained about how prone newer vehicles like SUVs are to rolling over and got ignorant abuse for it. In this situation, if the SUV had kept its rubber on the road, two young people might still be alive. I don't enjoy saying I told you so, but people need to stop buying vehicles so high off the ground when they don't need to. Really, how many Land Rover, Jeep, and other SUV owners ever go off-road, cross streams etc.?

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Then we should just ban all cars

They cause more injuries than just about anything else in this country.

No? Then the focus should be on engineering roads where people are prevented from speeding and otherwise driving like idiots by design.

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I Hate to Agree with him, but He Has A Point

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Okay, look, I get it, it's Mark from Arlington and he's usually on the wrong side of the argument with these sorts of things.

But he has a point about the unnecessary proliferation of vehicles with centers of gravity too high off the ground or which are much too wide, and the counter-troll of "well just ban all cars then! No? Clearly we should do nothing about the vehicles then! It's either all or nothing on cars." is unproductive.

We're never going to see a car-free country, but we might have a realistic chance at curbing the proliferation of rolling tanks on our streets if we make the narrative about that instead.

Fixing the roads alone won't fix our problem, and suburbia's fascination with the hummer and other such ex-military vehicles has gone on quite long enough. Focus on making them no longer street legal.

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you people are ridiculous and

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you people are ridiculous and completely out of your minds. the road is fine. the person who killed these people is a moron and ran the traffic light and should never have had a license. it's not meninos fault, its not the car manufacturers fault, its not anyone's fault except the dumbass who ran the red light. You cant fix every problem, you cant prevent every death, you cant lay blame on whoever you want all the time. Two people died and it's tragic... mourn their loss if you knew them but don't use their death as an excuse to push your moronic, tired bike agenda. Just stop it. Cars are a reality and they aren't going anywhere so just cut it out with the lame anti-car posts every single time anything bad happens with a motor vehicle involved.

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So, you're fine with driver's

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So, you're fine with driver's licenses being denied and revoked more easily, then? Required periodic retaking of the driver's test, maybe?

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Cambridge doesn't use raised

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Cambridge doesn't use raised crosswalks on streets as busy as Beacon or Comm Ave.

I don't like them. As a pedestrian, I find that drivers are often paying more attention to negotiating the bumps than to pedestrians. When biking (or on the rare occasions when I'm in a car), I find them very hard on my neck and back.

Mass Ave through Back Bay is such a bumpy mess that a repaved street with a few raised crosswalks would be an improvement. But a smooth road without these intentional obstacles would be even better.

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cambridge is a nightmare

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Driving through cambridge is a nightmare. So many different lanes and crosswalks where pedestrians practically throw themselves into traffic. And bikers in lanes that are squeezed in between parking and traffic lanes. It is sensory overload for the driver and gives a false sense of security to the pedestrian and biker. Sometimes the driver just cant see you or is so busy trying to make sense of it all. I am for traffic calming but the speed humps are no good and pedestrian crossings are notoriously inconsistent making them dangerous for all involved. (Some have lights. Some don't have lights. Not enough buffer space between parked cars and crosswalk which means pedestrians are already in the roadway before they are even visible to fever no enough time to stop. Etc...very sad and tragic wast of life and for what?

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Good luck..

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Getting speed bumps in the Back Bay. The BBAC would never allow something so gauche on Beacon Street or Comm Ave. Unless, of course, they were speed bumps from RH.

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Injecting reverse snobbery

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Injecting reverse snobbery into a tragic accident in which two people lost their lives. Are you going to make a crack about the fact that the victims were from Brookline next? Stay classy, dvdoff.

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I'd love to see cobblestones

I'd love to see cobblestones but I am afraid of eating shit over the handlebars evertime I ride on them in the South End. How about bike lanes AND cobblestones? No, that'd make idiot drivers want to halfsies in the bike lane. Ugh, there really isn't a solution is there? :(

Cobblestones?

Just in case anyone seriously thinks they are a good idea, try riding a bike in downtown Nantucket.

Arrest?

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Any word on an arrest of the driver who ran the red light?

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Codman island crashes

6-7 blocks east on Beacon St is Codman Island. I don't have any specific data, but it is reported that it is hit 6-7 times a year, almost always after midnight. Charles St leading up to Codman Island has a pretty strong raceway feel for being part of the central part of a so called walkable city.

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I see first comment blaming

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I see first comment blaming it on Eurotrash drivers,could be an elderly driver who somehow got his or her foot stuck on accelerator, could have been papparazzi following Tom Brady or gezele.

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My first thought was, why

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My first thought was, why aren't there bollards?

But I see that there are. Unfortunately they're half-assed and badly designed. They only protect some bushes, not the places where pedestrians wait to cross. http://goo.gl/maps/FVYtB

Christ Almighty!

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When are the cops going to do something about all the aholes who speed and run red lights all over Boston???

Last night was the Solstice. I was out walking around the South End and the Back Bay. Tons of people were doing likewise, including this beautiful young couple. It was a lovely evening for a stroll. And, then THIS happens?

Drivers have become more aggressive over the years. Even as an experienced Boston driver, I'm constantly afraid of being rear-ended by some speedster/texter or side-swiped by someone running a red light as I proceed carefully through a green. There's no common courtesy on the road. No one ever stops and allows anyone in front of them to parallel park traffic anymore. If I do, It's honk, honk, honk and people angrily swerve around me into oncoming traffic.

Wtf is going on? Two young people out for a walk are dead. I hope the driver is prosecuted to the max. I hope people will slow down and pay attention. I hope the police will be more present and start pulling more people over for traffic violations. So very Sad.

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More aggressive or more frustrated?

I've noticed that adding more impediments to travel seems to make people more frustrated than if driving on an open road. Adding more traffic lights to a road seems to result in people trying to get past each one quicker in hopes of having one less to stop at. So, then, adding yet more impediments is what usually gets advocated.

Ohhhh the poor dears...

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Having to stop at lights...so inconvenient and frustrating.

Honest to God...how about we maybe do what we can to help drivers set realistic expectations that when driving through a dense, residential urban grid neighborhood with not only pedestrians but also CROSS STREETS that stopping at red lights is just what they need to do? If they want to stay on the highway then so be it but honestly I couldn't care less about the poor whittle dwivers and their "frustrations" that make them more likely to disobey the law and common sense and kill people.

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Just explaining emotion misperception

What others perceive as someone feeling aggressive could be that they are instead feeling frustrated, with the outcome being similar behavior. People are guessing the wrong emotion from the behavior.

So, I'm asking how to best address the problem of people who are feeling frustrated. Give them more frustration? Giving them less frustration, for example, would be timing traffic lights like they are in Manhattan where going the speed limit results in hitting many green lights. Coordinating traffic lights not only reduces greenhouse gas production, it reduces unhealthy stress for drivers and makes them less likely to behave poorly out of frustration.

Reducing frustration produces better outcomes. If a product is frustrating to use, it becomes a commercial failure. If a population is frustrated by discrimination and poverty they behave less well than when frustrations are lessened. When one branch of Islam is frustrated by exclusionary political control in Iraq by another branch, they too behave badly. Frustrate them more is the solution? No, the US is trying to convince leaders to reduce frustration with inclusion.

The Root Of Their Frustration Is Just Too Many Cars In The City

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A modern city simply cannot handle all the traffic if everyone tries to drive private vehicles there. You can't expand roads big enough to ever make it work. In the last century, people like Robert Moses tried, by demolishing vast swaths of vibrant neighborhoods to build highways. Disastrous! The highways couldn't carry all the traffic they attracted, and city life in the remnants of neighborhoods in their paths became miserable.

The only way out of this; and bring Boston into the future; is to improve mass transit, and to provide safer facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists. There's not enough widespread support for non-automotive transportation improvements yet. When there is, the public will place harder demands on their elected officials for better service.

In other words, drivers need to become even more frustrated than they currently are; so frustrated, that they'll finally realize there are better ways to get around in a big city than driving a car. Only when that happens, will horrible accidents like this become less likely to occur.

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Giving them less frustration,

Giving them less frustration, for example, would be timing traffic lights like they are in Manhattan where going the speed limit results in hitting many green lights.

So you're saying that our goal should be the calm, stress-free drivers for which New York City is internationally renowned?

If a product is frustrating to use, it becomes a commercial failure

OMG, you mean people might stop treating the Back Bay like their own personal racetrack? Perish the thought.

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You are wrong. Plain and simple.

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Interestingly, the effect works in reverse, too. Whenever some city proposes taking lanes away from a road, residents scream that they’re going to create a huge traffic snarl. But the data shows that nothing truly terrible happens. The amount of traffic on the road simply readjusts and overall congestion doesn’t really increase.

http://www.wired.com/2014/06/wuwt-traffic-induced-demand/

Unless we're going to put in 100 lanes on every road, traffic will always succeed to the level the road can sustain. Make it bigger and it fills with more drivers. Make it smaller and people find other ways to get around.

If you continue to push your pro-car crap here, then at least argue from studied fact and not your emotional desire for better car access everywhere in the city or your gut feeling on how things would be if we only catered to driving more. I hope people will consider your "car driving needs help" posts to be trolling and simply not respond soon enough. Hopefully they will realize your nonsense has been asked and answered and we can stop feeding you responses to show time and again that not only are your points disproven already but your insensitivity to tie it into the most tangential posts...like 2 pedestrians dying from an SUV rollover accident...is unwelcome too.

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I really don't think

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I really don't think congestion was an issue in this crash. This happened pretty late at night, and traffic (absent special events) in Boston at night is pretty tame.

The bigger issues here are the poor design of roads (for all users), badly signaled lights (both for drivers and pedestrians), and zero traffic enforcement (speeding, running red lights, double parking).

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Thumbs down

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This site needs a thumbs down button.

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It's the opposite problem on Beacon Street.

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You see this kind of aggressive driving because it's a one way street that's wide and looks open to flooring it. But, then you're on the left lane because you want to turn a block from now and DAMMIT, some fucker is scanning for a parking space or trying to double park. So you swing around him aggressively, and then make that turn aggressively.

If Beacon was two-way, the prevailing speeds would be lower and the aggression inspired by obstructions would eb a lot lower. There's a reason you don't see this kind of behavior on Mass Ave.

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no respect anymoreanymore

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Speed and running a red light now 2 innocent people are dead! Unacceptable! Prosecute to the fullest extent of the law! No mercy!

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Time the lights to enforce the speed limit

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The Back Bay is one of the only parts of the city with a bona fide grid layout. As a result, it should be easy to time the lights on at least Beacon, Comm., Newbury and Boylston to allow traffic to flow at the speed limit. If you go faster, you get caught at all of the lights. Drivers would learn this very quickly.

I'm sure some of our road engineers can cite other examples, but the one that comes to mind is on U.S. 202 in Holyoke between I-91 and the bridge over the Connecticut River. It works beautifully, and as a driver, I love it because there is no starting and stopping unnecessarily (and as an extra bonus, it eliminates any urge to go a bit faster so as to get through a stale green).

What an absolutely terrible unnecessary tragedy. Our condolences to two grieving families and many friends.

I could be wrong, but I

I could be wrong, but I believe the lights are already timed to do exactly this on Comm Ave and Beacon in the Back Bay. But that doesn't prevent people from flying through the red lights anyway. A particularly dangerous spot is the corner of Comm Ave and Arlington right in front of the Public Garden - people fly through that red and go right onto Arlington all day every day.

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Location